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Airofil - Convert Your Ceiling Fan into an Air Cleaner

Aircare aims to expand its product line to include other type of affordable innovations in the coming future.

Founded in August 2015, Mumbai-based Aircare Innovations LLP develops innovative products that can help individuals breathe cleaner air at an affordable price. The goal is to build an Air Hygiene FMCG category under the brand Airofil. With this objective the company launched its first product Disposable Air Cleaner that works with ceiling fan to help capture indoor air pollutants such as dust, pollen and allergens from the air with in a room. This product is a non-electric disposable cleaner and the first of its type in India. With high ceiling fan usage across India, the firm believes this to be a positive addition to hygiene products for households.

In an interaction with BW Disrupt, Hemal Saraiya, founder of AirCare Innovations shared his venture journey.

Idea Generation

The idea of building an “Air Hygiene” FMCG category in India was conceived in 2015 while I was in Singapore. My journey on awareness on air pollution and its benefits came when I learnt about Air Purifying appliances in Singapore. I was at a friend’s house when I first saw an Air Purifier. As I researched about the value of the product, I became aware about the indoor air pollutants and its impact on our health. This got me curious to read about air quality in India. And I was shocked to find how bad the air quality was in India.

I than started researching into indoor air cleaning options available to households and offices in India. And I found only two broad options: Air Purifying Plants vs various electronic appliances. The plants were difficult to manage and hence were not mainstream popular while electronic appliances were high cost to own and hence its adoption is limited to higher income households (mainly Delhi). Largely South Asia is a value centric society and so we need to build solutions which take that into account this reality. Comparable examples would be – broom vs vaccum, Air conditioners vs ceiling fans.

However within Air cleaning products there was a gap, there was no comparable product option in an affordable category like a broom or a ceiling fan. Than one day I was at another friend’s house who had a ceiling fan inside her home in Singapore (not a common appliance to own in Singapore). As I was enjoying the coolness from the ceiling fan – I realized that there is large circulation of air going up and down by use of the ceiling fan. And so I started asking myself why can’t we use this circulatory power to provide cleaner air? Just like an air conditioner has an air filter – why not one for Ceiling Fans? And this was the eureka moment.

And that’s when the idea of building an affordable “Air Hygiene” category began.

Aircare Journey – Till Today

We started our journey with testing the product online and offline with few specific brands. Our testing concluded in Jan 2017. And now we are focused to scale up by systematically adding new retail and distribution partners.

In our journey, we have had multiple challenges – getting shelf space with retail partners without paying listing fees, balancing price and acquisition costs, online category placement and the biggest obstacle is building product awareness amongst households in a cost effective manner. Persistence, patience and sales/relationship building skills helped to overcome most of these challenges.

Product USP

The product USP is that it’s simple to use & highly affordable. The product installation requires simply cleaning the fan blades and attaching the Air Cleaner to the top of any 1 fan blade. And then every time the ceiling fan rotates the Air Cleaner will help to capture indoor air pollutants. And in terms of price, the product is available at MRP of INR 189/- only. There are two Air Cleaners in a box. Customers with three fan blades need only one Air Cleaner at a time and can use the cleaner for almost 30-60 days.

Our product was test launched in October 2015 and is currently sold through, Big Basket (Bangalore only) and Big Bazaar stores in multiple cities across the country. We are adding additional modern format stores and online marketplaces over the next couple of months.

Market Size & Competition

We estimate that there are close to 20+ crore ceiling fans in India. As per certain industry estimates, ~2.5-3 cr ceiling fans are sold in India each year and it is expected to grow at 8-10%. Our focus is to initially target our product in urban cities to upper middle class and higher income segment. Our conservative estimate indicates that total market size is in the range of Rs 800 – 1000 cr.

There is no direct competition but there are alternatives available to customers – air purifying plants and expensive electronic air purifying appliances. Each of these alternatives have their pros and cons – either inconvenient to manage or expensive to own. Our focus is to provide a value product that has specific “hygiene” focused features, it’s simple to operate and leverages existing technology of ceiling fan. This makes it affordable for wider consumers to own/operate vs alternative options. We believe customers want to breathe cleaner air inside homes but don’t want to pay high prices or use significant amount of their time to operate.

Monetization Model

We are focused to sell our first product – Disposable Air Cleaner - across 3 different market segments – consumer, commercial and government. Initially the product is targeted to consumers in larger urban cities mainly through online channel and modern format supermarkets/hypermarkets. We are adopting a direct as well as distributorship model across consumer and commercial segments. In consumer and commercial segment, our approach is to build direct relationships with our channel partners online and offline.

Future plans

We are focused to expand our distribution partners offline and online. We are now working towards acquiring new larger modern format partners in top 10 large cities and also signing up certain independent supermarkets in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. In addition we are now entering commercial segment with an eye towards marketing to government offices. In addition we will also be expanding into other product lines in the future.

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